Red over Black: Black Slavery among the Cherokee Indians

By R. Halliburton Jr. | Go to book overview

a missionary to be sent to Honey Creek. Worcester interpreted this action as a vote of confidence from proslavery Cherokees.26

During the following year, the Reverend Evan Jones was accused of being an abolitionist and fomenting antislavery agitation. 17In September 1860 his son John, also a Baptist missionary, was ordered by the Indian agent to leave the country within three weeks. His expulsion was the result of an article published in a northern newspaper which stated that Jones was "engaged in promulgating anti-slavery doctrines among his flock." Other missionaries were also compelled to depart, and the excitement aroused by these incidents continued to increase.28

In 1860 a black slave of the Park Hill area was "cruelly whipped." The Reverend Charles Cutler Torrey was accused of making "inflamatory remarks" about the affair. A mob of "disorderly men" went to the Torrey home at Park Hill and demanded that the minister appear before them. After much difficulty, Mrs. Torrey convinced the mob that her husband was not at home. She became so upset by the excitement and anxiety that she gave premature birth. The Reverend Torrey was subsequently warned by friends and neighbors not to go to Tahlequah to fill his regular preaching appointment. Nevertheless, he went and upon arrival found the building locked. The janitor informed him that he would not be allowed further use of the building because of his antislavery remarks. The Reverend Torrey denied the charges and explained that he had not heard of any cruelty to Negroes. Meanwhile, a crowd of would-be worshipers had gathered in the street. The minister asked that the building be opened in order that he might clarify the slavery position of his governing board. The doors remained locked, however.29

Later, Reverend Torrey went to the Cherokee agent and explained that he and his governing board disapproved of slavery. But, he emphasized, he had not come to the Cherokee Nation as an abolitionist or to stir up strife and discontent. He maintained that his sole purpose was "to preach the Gospel of Christ, and to proclaim the Golden Rule." Reverend Torrey later said, "I have no doubt the Agent was a pro-slavery man, but he seemed satisfied with my statement, and I think that he was pleased that I was willing to come to him."30

As one southern state after another left the Union, the American Board decided that the Reverend Torrey must close his mission. The board reasoned that the Cherokees could no longer be classified as a heathen people and subjects for foreign missions. War had become a virtual certainty and the

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Red over Black: Black Slavery among the Cherokee Indians
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - The Origins of Black Slavery in the Cherokee Country 3
  • Notes 16
  • 2 - Early Cherokee Planters and Plantations 20
  • Notes 29
  • 3 - Maturity and Westward Movement 32
  • Notes 46
  • 4 - The Last Decade in the East 50
  • Notes 59
  • 5 - The New Nation in the West 61
  • Notes 77
  • 6 - Great Runaway and Stricter Controls 80
  • Notes 91
  • 7 - Missionaries and Abolitionism 93
  • Notes 103
  • 8 - The Prewar Years 106
  • Notes 120
  • 9 - The Civil War 122
  • Notes 136
  • 10 - Conclusion 139
  • Appendix A 145
  • Appendix B 181
  • Appendix C - A Cherokee Adoption Rite 193
  • Notes 194
  • Bibliography 195
  • Index 209
  • About the Author 219
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